Author Interview: Andrea Cefalo


April 16, 2012 by Alice in Readerland

Snow White was a pet name her mother had given her, but her mother’s dead now. Adelaide hates that name anyway. A rampant fever claimed Adelaide’s mother just like a thousand others in Cologne where the people die without last rites and the dead are dumped in a large pit outside of the city walls. Adelaide’s father is determined to obtain a funeral for his wife, but that requires bribing the parish priest, Father Soren. When Soren commits an unforgivable atrocity, he pushes Adelaide to her breaking point, but if she seeks justice against the cruel priest, she risks sacrificing everything: her father, her friends, her first love, and maybe even her life.

Title: The Fairytale Keeper

Author: Andrea Cefalo

Category: Young Adult Historical Fiction

Publishing Date: June 1st, 2012

Publisher: Scarlet Primrose Press

Distributer: Baker & Taylor, Ingram, and CreateSpace

ISBN for Paperback: 978-0-9851678-1-3

ISBN for Ebook: 978-0-9851678-0-6

Page Length: 280

Price: $11.99 USD

In anticipation of The Fairytale Keeper being released on June 1st, here’s an interview I had with the author, Andrea Cefalo:

Me: How did you come up with the idea for The Fairytale Keeper?

A. C.: The idea came to me six years ago as I was sitting in a children’s literature class while I was getting my undergraduate degree in education.  We were studying the similarities in fairy tales across cultures: characters, settings, plots, themes, etc. It made me think, if so many fairy tales have such similarities, maybe several of them originated from one person. More specifically, I wondered, what if most of Grimm’s fairy tales came from one storyteller who spun her adventures into the kind of stories people wanted to pass on for generations. The book started out as a picture book, but the characters developed and so did the plot. It became what it is now, a young adult historical fiction novel following the life of the real Snow White.

Me: Between Once Upon a Time, Snow White and the Huntsman, and Mirror Mirror, there’s been a lot of retellings of Snow White going around. What makes The Fairytale Keeper different?

A.C.: I think this book is different because there is no magic. I wanted to explore the reality of these tales. They came from somewhere and I wanted to ponder where that could have been. The Brothers Grimm were German so I started in Germany. I knew the stories would have come from long ago so I found a place and time period that I felt could foster the beginnings of these tales and that, for me, is 1248 in Cologne, Germany, which was a tumultuous year for that city.

Me: What has it been like for you, taking this iconic character and making her your own?

A.C.: I’ve loved it. Maybe some people would feel pressure to write a “perfect” Snow White, but the best characters are flawed, in my opinion. That being said, I feel very close to Adelaide. She is like a good friend to me and I am so glad that I have two more books to write with her in them. I know I’ll be sad when I’m done writing the series because I’ll miss her.

Me: To write The Fairy Tale Keeper, did you have to do a lot of research on time periods and fairy tales?

A.C.: Yes. I would say that I did more research on the time period, its famous people and events, than I did on fairy tales, but before I discuss the historical research end, I feel that I have to let people know that this novel is written with the original Grimm fairy tales in mind. They are dark, not Disney.

As for historical research, I have read books on medieval Cologne, the Holy Roman Empire, and lots of historical fiction from the same time period. I actually had a four foot by three foot map of Cologne printed and researched hundreds of other maps so I could accurately label the streets, churches, parishes, and markets of the city. It took about a month to finish, but I’m so glad that I did it because I feel like I can navigate the streets of Cologne. Then, my husband introduced me to Google Maps and I was able to virtually navigate the streets of this city I had been researching for five years. I cried, literally, because I was so happy to finally see this place I had been writing about for so long. But besides the map, I have many, many pages of details from how to make a turn-shoe to the price of livestock in the middle ages.

Me: This must be exciting for you, because not only is The Fairytale Keeper your debut novel, it’s the first in a series of four! Do you plan on having more well-known fairy tale characters appear in the series?

A.C: It’s very exciting. I suppose I’m a bit in the honeymoon stage right now. :) I absolutely plan on there being many fairy tale characters in the four books. Some of the characters have roles in multiple tales. I’d love to tell you which ones, but I don’t want to spoil anything for the readers. They can count on five well-known tales being involved in the first book.

Me: What’s your writing process like?

A.C.: No two days are alike for me. I may start the day writing, but realize that I need to research something. Then, I might spend an hour or so on that. I try to write in order, but sometimes my characters just start having a conversation in my head and I have to write that down. There are days when I spend three hours rewriting a paragraph. I don’t like those days. When I find myself doing that, I have to set down the writing and read some good books. Reading great writing makes the writing come easier for me. That being said, I think two things are very important when it comes to writing. First, the setting must be believable and, for that to happen, it must be well-researched and described. Second, and most important to me, the writer must know the characters and keep them consistent. Once I knew my characters, the story started to write itself. I was able to write one to two thousand words a day and now my first and second book are done.

Thanks so much, Andrea!

Check out Andrea’s website

Check out Andrea’s Twitter

Check out Andrea’s Facebook

Be sure to get your own copy of The Fairytale Keeper when it comes out June 1st, 2012!

6 thoughts on “Author Interview: Andrea Cefalo

  1. Lucy says:

    Love the interview!

  2. Mandy R. says:

    Sounds like an interesting read!

  3. *Sophie* says:

    I love Snow White!!!

  4. Lynn says:

    I’m adding this to my to-read pile!

  5. DancingQueen says:

    Thanks for including the links!

  6. BethLovesBooks says:

    Sounds great!

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